Thursday, August 25, 2011

Something made me happy today. You know what that was? A new milestone at pole class!

We were drilled at geminis today, and for pictorial purposes, my in-class attempt turned out first like this:

It looked kinda like an inverted skater or funny gemini-butterfly hybrid that I was holding for dear life here. It's an attempt to gemini, but here, I still needed to a) conquer my fear of letting go b) hook my right leg really tight on the pole (as you can see, I wasn't hooking well enough) and c) get my body coordinated for a prettier pose.

I thought this was as close as I could get to a real and pretty gemini until after much encouragement from teachers and classmates (I could hear my dear Grace as I got to an invert say "LET GO!!! LET GO!!!) I did it. Omigod, I did it!

That's how a pretty Gemini should look like, arched back, leg back (it makes you look longer), hook the leg up so tightly (see the difference from the picture before it?), and really conquer the fear.

What a fabulous way to end this day. Inspired, indeed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Easy Breezy Sweet Day With Cover Girl

When I got the invitation for another very intimate blogger’s event featuring Cover Girl’s newest lipstick, I just had to say yes. Not only am I a lippie fan but the event was held at Sweet Bella near Burgos Circle, which really is a hop, backflip, and roundoff from where I live. And so hop, backlip, and roundoff I did. Looks like the event called to me because it was such a pretty and sweet place with macarons on display. I love sweets!

I got there and was greeted by a number of familiar faces. Cover Girl makeup was displayed on the tables and so were pictures of Cover Girl celebrity endorser Drew Barrymore.

Now, I knew that we were there to be introduced with the lipstick but why the appearance of other makeup? Well, we’ll know in a bit.

Lipstick displays. So many colors to choose from!

Snacks were served shortly and after we (okay fine, I) filled ourselves to the brim with yummy food (pizza, pasta, and desserts!!!), we were tasked to do an icebreaker. We were paired and we were supposed to recreate Drew Barrymore’s Cover Girl Look.

I was paired with Martha, who I bonded immediately with both our love for honey-colored skin. I recreated the look on her (bonus with the hair), which was lined eyes in a basic brown color and bold red lips. Given the clue “lip perfection”, I realized the focus was supposed to be the lips, so I had to make sure that the lip shape was super defined with lipliner and lipstick.

Martha’s even game to channel up her inner Drew Barrymore. She’s super game, we won the challenge by the way!

Closer Look! Pretty!

The rest of the drew Barrymores Liz and Jamie with Martha.

Cover Girl Lip Perfection, the newest line of Cover Girl lipsticks is for those who want pigment without the dragging dryness. As we all know, super pigmented lipsticks are the most drying ones, and it sometimes cracks or seeps into lines, not really pretty. This lipstick as it turns out, gives us the best of both worlds by not only having super-pigmented formulations but giving our kissers extra TLC (skin care + makeup = sweet!)

Swatch of lipstick in Hot (above). Look how its consistency seems to glide on the skin smoothly with no falling into lines.

The secret ingredient to this is the Silk Therapy Complex, which sustains moisture levels on the lips to improve lip condition over time. Yay! So there's no need to apply lip balm before.

Cover Girl Lip Perfection’s quality also is made to be comparable with other luxury brand lipsticks. We were asked too to participate in another activity where we had to swatch three lipsticks on a piece of silk fabric. Two lipsticks would be famous branded ones and one would be Cover Girl, and we had to guess which is Cover Girl.

On the fabric, it was quite hard to tell which is which, pigment-wise. The first one, A drags as I swatched it, so definitely not cover girl. B and C glide like butter. However, B had a smell which was kinda off to my senses, sort of like waxy so definitely not Cover Girl. We were left with C, and here, we see another discovery of Cover Girl Lipperfection. It has vanilla musk, which makes the scent better than other lipsticks. I wasn’t able to smell the vanilla-ness though, but it was a relatively odorless lippie, which is really good.

One lipstick is Php395 and the lip liner (perfect to get really super shapely lips and this lip liner glides so easy it’s almost like a lipstick on its own) is Php 325. There are 22 shades to choose from, and that includes hot reds, bright pinks, corals, earthy browns, and rose and berry shades. If you’re wondering what shade we used that day, the shade is called Hot. It appears like an orange red on lips and since it’s super bold on its own, all I need is a strong liner, mascara, and brows and I’m off.
Jheng isn't much of a red lipstick user, but it wouldn't hurt to try. I told her she really looks good with it.

Me trying Hot, the lipstick we've been using. The staying power, I'm really impressed, for a cushy and creamy lipstick. This votes a plus plus for me to use in weddings, so I better stock up on the bridal colors when I can.

We all had a group picture where most of us tried on Hot.

Okay, since I love my readers and friends who do read my blog, I’ll give you a treat. All you have to do is print this webpage (but don't forget to include a shot fo the coupon) and get Php100 off for every Php1000 worth of Cover Girl products, including Cover Girl Lip Perfection products.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Getting started with makeup doesn't mean that you need to have a fine arts degree or go straight to makeup school from day 1. When I was invited in UP for the Bio Alumni Forum, it was kind of weird to have someone who graduated from the program talk about a very different career option involving the other side of the brain. However, if you think about it (and just as cool), I'm not alone.

There are famous people in the fashion industry who were science graduates. Another fact about it? They're world famous and they rock. Since i have no pictures of them, I'll be borrowing some of their pictures from other sites, with credits of course!

Jay Manuel

[image from]

I don't think there's not one person who loves makeup and fashion, whether it be a photographer, model, makeup artist, or stylist who hasn't watched or heard of America's Next Top Model. So we all recognize this guy. Jay Manuel is the director of the photoshoots in the showm with extensive knowledge of the craft having been a makeup artist/fashion photographer/model. Currently, he's the host and lead judge of the Canadian franchise of the show, Canada's Next Top Model.

Before his presence became known in the fashion industry, Jay was then a pre-med student in Toronto. He also worked at the Metropolitan Opera before becoming a full-time makeup artist. Some of the famous faces that became his canvases are Tyra Banks, Iman, and Naomi Campbell.

Lesley Mobo

Before being a designer for the British brand Jasmine de Milo and making waves internationally, Lesley Mobo was once a BS Biology major training to be a scientist. He was offered a scholarship from a very prestigious medical school but he turned it down and followed his heart - he pursued a career in fashion design. I guess much of his work and accomplishments are known to most of us, from his collaboration with Diesel up to his collaboration with the local clothing line Bench. And yes, Lesley Mobo is a Filipino.

Mally Roncal
Another Filipino artist that makes us makeup artists proud is Mally Roncal. Mally Roncal once wanted to follow her parent's footsteps on becoming a doctor initially pursuing a pre-med course. Despite the intense training, she never let go of her love for makeup. At present, Mally has done makeup for Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Ashlee Simpson, and Celine Dion to name a few. She also has her own makeup line, which is being sold at QVC. To add another feather in her cap, she's a mom of two beautiful twin baby girls. I'm sure these girls are super lucky to have a mommy like Mally!

Mally is known for the "Mally Roncal's Fast Face", which shows that you don't need an entire hour to do makeup. Now there's absolutely no excuse not to look your best.

I'm sure the bigwigs in the industry have day jobs or education that's far from what they do now. The important thing though, is that they love what they do and they rock at it. Hopefully, these people can inspire us and fuel the fire once more. You know why I know? Because they got me inspired.

A Supergirl Named Kiara

Juggling a job and a family is a challenge in itself. As soon as you clock out, your mindset is to rush home and complete a litany of errands. For some girls, this has been the quintessential excuse to not have time for themselves, exercise, or whatever. But for my featured friend, she believes that with proper balance, we can get the life we want.

Kiara executing the funky monkey, one of her favorite pole tricks

Kiara is one of my closest friends in pole dancing. She’s funny, witty, pretty, and easy to get along with. We had one common ground aside from pole – we love makeup! That’s how we clicked and we’d both spend a lot of time talking about the latest makeup collections and our makeup must-haves. Kiara relates to me a little story that inspired her to always make a conscious effort to look good. When she was 15 years old, she went to a school fair and she saw a very pretty mom with her two kids. When she saw that mom, she promised to herself that when she becomes a mom, she’ll be like that. Kiara has never let herself go. Already in her 30’s, she still maintains a size 2 frame, does fabulously at work, makes sure that her brows are well-groomed, her nails polished, and lipstick impeccable. Also, she is blessed with a wonderful family who loves her dearly (no yaya, take note!).

One thing I admire in her (aside from her mad pole skills) is that she lives a well-balanced life. She has a wonderful career, she’s a mom to an adorable 1-year-old, and she regularly works out. Kiara does both pole and yoga and she’s doing well in both. Currently enrolled at the Intermediate 2 class, Kiara has done many advanced moves that I have yet to dream of doing. I love how she makes time for everything. She travels from her office in QC to make it to her 9 pm pole class in Ortigas (she gets to the studio early). Aside from her two sports – pole and yoga, Kiara is enrolled at a gym where she trains focusing on strengthening her thighs via isometric contractions. The gym is at the Fort and Kiara travels there too!

I call Kiara a superwoman, supermom, and hmmm… maybe a superstar. And as you can see, she lived up to that promise she made to herself when she was 15.

That quintessential question which I might need, I'll ask you. How was it doing that first invert? Any tips and tricks for girls like me who want to achieve that invert?

Doing my first invert was really empowering and exhilarating. Just practice pole regularly and engage your core muscles when doing an invert. Most girls tend to laugh to ease their nervousness when doing an invert but laughing just makes the muscles relax

One thing that made us click is our love for makeup. Has this been innate in you or are you a late bloomer like me with cosmetics, health, and beauty?

I studied college at UP Diliman and didn’t wear ANY makeup. I graduated from the College of Fine Arts which is why I probably love makeup – it’s like crayons for adults. I’ve been hoarding makeup and last year I FINALLY went to makeup school just so I can.

So you do yoga, pole, have an awesome career, and you're a wife and mom. You consider yourself a superwoman?

I have always believed in work-life balance and I’m the type of girl who gets bored easily when doing the same activities day in and day out. I don’t consider myself a superwoman – just a woman blessed with a fabulous life.

How do you balance your life with family, work, and squeeze in some time with yourself, i.e. working out and keeping healthy?

I am blessed with a family that supports me and my husband knows that working out and keeping healthy makes me happy. My mom and hubby help out in taking care of my toddler Riley.

What are tips and tricks that you'd like to share for moms like you who believe that they have no time to go to the gym, exercise, or put on makeup because of their schedule, kids, stuff like that?

If you want something badly – you’ll find a way to get it! It’s really that simple. Having no time is not an excuse. When I gave birth to my daughter Riley, I had a C-section and it was really depressing not to be able to go back to the gym. I found an alternative workout, which was yoga and I was back to my size 2 frame in 6 months. (Bambi tip: ask your doctor for preggy-safe exercises that you can do depending on your condition. Aside from the health benefits, endorphins are good!)

What are the essentials in your makeup bag?

  • MAC!!! Studio Sculpt foundation, brow set in GirlBoy / Beguile
  • Eyeshadows in Ricepaper, Carbon and Soba
  • Nars blush in Deep Throat
  • MAC blush in Ripe Peach (limited edition though)
  • MAC lipstick in Cherish, Spirit and Hug Me ( I love nude lips)

What pole trick/spin and yoga asana do you love the most?
The Up-split.

My favorite pole trick as of the moment would be Butterfly and Up-Split – both tricks look very pretty. As for the yoga poses I’m very proud of my guillotine and rabbit. One day I hope to execute - brass monkey and extended butterfly (pole tricks) full camel, full cobra and scorpion (yoga asanas).

When your baby girl gets older, would you encourage that same active lifestyle on her that you have?

Definitely! I always wished I started earlier – would definitely encourage Riley to take up ballet or gymnastics.

Given a few years, Riley will be up and active joining her mom’s fabulous lifestyle. Kiara inspires me to make a very conscious effort to look good, anytime, everywhere, especially during my pangit days. When I become a mommy, I better look back to my interview on Kiara and hopefully, I get to be fabulous just like her! I can just hear her say, “Having no time is not an excuse.” And that puts me right on track!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Yellow Bag Weekend

Hello Forever21 sale, thank you for giving me a little bonus to smile about this week! Although it was hard to find my size by the time I got there (I went there yesterday, since I had a talk on Friday), but it's not like I went out empty-handed.

These bags were tempting.

Accessories were like a candy buffet! I think I spent a good chunk of my time here looking at very unique earrings, the only piece of jewelry that's a staple to me next to a watch.

I behaved this time, still walking out with my one-bag policy.

Got myself a nice pair of dark denim jeans that finally fit me well and a couple of earrings on sale yesterday in a safe silver color. Plus a while ago, I passed by to get me a pair of socks since I actually have very little socks. I have more stockings than socks! Hahahaha.

I wanted to get the Hello Kitty socks but they were sold out so I got this cuteums owl printed ones instead. Woot - er- hoot-hoot!

Just the basics for me, but I think they'll be needed to stretch up my wardrobe a bit. We still need more of the basics, right?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Life After Bio: Returning to My Roots

I got the invitation to be part of the guest speakers at the Bio Alumni Forum to be held at the UP Manila College of Arts and Sciences, the second time in my life. I forgot that it was Bioweek already for them and usually around this time, bio majors from my alma matter usually are very busy not just through acads but the bioweek activities.

I guess you guys all know that once upon a time in my younger life, I ticked undergrad courses that were pre-med courses. Had I followed that route, this blog wouldn't exist and I would have spent a good chunk of my waking hours in ERs and lived the life of the people you see in Grey's Anatomy instead of Project Runway. The story was that, I was an honor student in high school and I think at that time, we all had the notion that all smart kids should be doctors or lawyers. I chose being a doctor because I excelled in Biology in high school and it was a very agreeable career choice if asked. "When I grow up, I want to be a doctor!" sounds so appealing, right?

I do not hold a medical degree, obviously. I did however, finish the four-year program and graduated on time, with good marks. Three years after I graduated came the start of my life involving makeup and the rest is history. My career choice is quite far from the usual biologist courses, which I think they got me to speak again for the Bio Alumni Forum. I was just too happy because although college life was quite a rough road for me, I really missed seeing the teachers, the staff, and most especially seeing how the school turned out.

I was really excited for this day so I decided to get to UP earlier than our call time to see how everyone was. Everyone looked really great, like they haven't aged a day. Some of the people I knew as students during my stay there were now teachers. When I was asked, "So what have you been doing?" I would smile and say, "A lot!" because really, they were a lot.

By 9 am we transferred to the event venue, the Little Theater, which has been the venue not just for many variety shows and college activities but it has been the venue of many of my departmental exams and finals, where I have shed tears and sweat to. But this time, the LT would be a venue for me, along with 3 other speakers to share our experiences and hopefully, inspire bio majors.

A familiar face gave the opening remarks, Prof. Samuel Go, who was my thesis adviser back in 2004. Prof. Go taught me really tough subjects, and what's really cool about him is how he remembers his students, even those who graduated way before. Most importantly, when he knew I didn't want to be a doctor anymore and I was in that gray area of my life, he saw that I'm meant for something bigger. I took jobs after I graduated, and I remember that he didn't like my first-ever job. Not that it was horrible or anything. It's just that, it just wasn't me, like a "fish in the Sahara Desert".

The speakers were finally introduced. Two of them were doctors, one's a professor and we have me! So we have 3 speakers whose jobs were so much related to their courses and one speaker that had a job unrelated to BS Biology. The first question was how we got there, I let the others go first as mine would be a litany of stories, since it involves a lot of aspects. For those who don't know, here's a summary: I found out that I didn't want to go to med school anymore come third year not because I'm lazy or anything but because I didn't like it. At that time, it was too late for me to shift out. Sure, my brain can handle it but my body could no longer handle the stress. I was getting sick and I was remembered then as very skinny and very pale (skinny like super unhealthy skinny). If the body rejects it, I told myself stop. I didn't know what I wanted to do then, but I needed to work. I finished the course though, and did so quite okay, not marching with a medal, but my grades were quite good. So I went to the only industry that had relatively good pay that wasn't choosy with the degrees of their employees - the BPO industry. It was fine and all, but not really something I'm passionate about, and when the time came that I was dragging my feet to work, it was time to evaluate and know what I really wanted.

What I really wanted was pretty obvious - not becoming a CEO or suiting up in blazers. I wanted pretty things - shoes, clothes, makeup. I like browsing the internet for makeup tutorials and reading beauty blogs. When I had a personal blog then, I found myself injecting beauty entries once in a while. Makeup school was the next step, and I think by that time, most of you guys knew what went next, as my blogging records my journey and experiences. I love makeup and beauty, and it just perfectly happens to be my career choice. And another funny thing was that it loved me back. When I slack up, work somehow finds me, it's like the forces of the earth slapping my bum and saying "No honey, you are so not getting out of your job and we'll make sure!"

The moderators also went beyond the usual Q&A. They gave us a tiny whiteboard and marker each and asked questions which we were supposed to write our answers and then explain. Some of the questions include our least favorite subject in the program, what comes to our minds when we hear Department of Biology, and what animal would we like to be when reincarnated.

Prof. Anna Santiago was two batches higher than me and now currently a professor gave an epic answer I won't forget, how bio students are well-rounded students. They go beyond books and slides. Every year, Bioweek concludes with a variety show and it's amusing how the students reveal talents and confidence that no one else knew. We recalled several very quiet batchmates who surprised a number of people by being the star of their show dancing and singing with so much energy. So we're all not science geeks, you know! Anna's a superwoman. She's a UP Professor-slash-mom-slash-wife, and she sings well.

We were also asked to pick out interesting career options from a group of cards and share with the audience how they can be careers of a bio major.

Here's Dr. Joy Guerrero. She's a doctor and researcher by profession yet on that day, she reveals to us that she's a hobbyist photographer. Dr. Guerrero explained that a bio major with a knack for taking photos can be a wildlife photographer, just like the dudes we see over at National Geographic.

Dr. Judith Clemente is an OB-Gyne at PGH. She illustrates how biologists can apply what they've learned in Clinical Research. I was talking to her before the event and we both agreed that you must love what you do. Not discouraging medical careers, the scenes you see in medical dramas are far from what happens in med school. Being a doctor is a vocation. The glamorous life is a misconception. Yet despite this, if you really want with all your heart and might to be a doctor, then the trials will be nothing.

Anna points out the very interesting world of Forensics. Forensics is becoming really popular thanks to again, popular TV series and police dramas.

Little ol' me had quite a hard time choosing. I saw the Illustrator card and got it and grabbed the marine biologist card as well. I think marine biology isn't a new career option for bio majors. A few undergrad thesis have had marine bio as the topic of choice and once they invited a marine biologist to give a talk. Plus, we have the most beautiful beaches and a very diverse marine ecosystem. Plus, with diving becoming a very popular hobby nowadays (it's like 2 out of 3 people I know dive) might as well earn from it, if it's your hobby for those bio majors who took up Field Bio, Ecology, and Invertebrate Zoo, this would be a synch.

The Illustrator actually came from a joke during a lab class I had before. We were drawing specimens of rabbits, butterflies, shells, and so on. A classmate of mine joked that BS Bio was also minor in Fine Arts with all the drawing we did. An Illustrator is a far cry from BS Bio, yet it uses the skills we develop from our lab classes - eye for detail and structure. If a bio major is a comic geek, they can start graphic novels, work on animation, or if arts is really their thing, be a full visual artist.

After the event, we were asked to give advice and words of wisdom to the students. After recognition, the event ended, but my activity didn't stop there. I paused to talk and bond with people I haven't seen in a long time. It was great talking to my former teachers and colleagues and how we recalled our days in BS Bio when I was still the skinny pale student. It was funny though, because I still recalled pala some Bio stuff, like the D-shaped eggs of the pinworm, how E. coli was a lipase-negative organism that we had to extract lipid from avocado using non-chemical means, and capilliary action which causes us to have drenched jeans during floody days. I may be an artist now, but I guess being a bio major will always remain.

I had pictures taken with the faculty! That's Prof. Jasper Obico, who was a batch higher than me in UP. Prof. Miriam de Vera was our professor in Animal Physiology, and of course, Prof. Go.

I surprised Ate Tess and Kuya Edgar. I pretended to be a student first who'll be borrowing a microscope. These guys have been custodians of our microscopes and slides ever since. They're the most adorable people and never aged a day. I think these are the guys who knew my life so well since I get to talk to them while waiting for data and all.

Omigod I just had to post this: I work with Olympus cameras right? Omigod, ang Olympus na yan, noon ko pa kinakalikot!

Before I left, I spotted familiar friends - fat and happy kitties taking an afternoon nap!!! We've had fat kitties lurking around the school grounds ever since!
For gifts, they gave us certificates of appreciation (this is currently displayed in our living room, by the way) and a spill-proof mug to encourage earth friendliness.

One thing I'd like to add is the definition of success. We were described as alumni with success stories. For me, success isn't measured by how many medals were pinned to you during graduation or the titles you have accrued throughout your academic life, (M.D. Ph.D., MPH, etc). Success is doing what you truly love and rocking it. Do what you love, whatever it may be.

I'm not a rich girl. I live in a little house and have yet to own my first designer bag or a car even. I didn't graduate with honors. I had my share of 3.0s, 2.75's, and 2.5's and was thisclose to taking a removal exam. However, I wake up in the morning looking forward to go to work, whether it be a wedding, a personal client, a billboard shoot, or a fun shoot. The MRT ride to Shaw Boulevard is no chore because I know I'm on my way to pole dance class. This blog has recorded more happiness than woe, as you can see whatever experience I have, whether it be doing makeup for a stage play, being a model of a world-renowned photographer, I face with optimism. I do what I do because I love to, and it's a bonus that the world loves me back.

Grades can only do so much. The title magna cum laude can beef up a resume and it does sound nice on introductions. However, what really matters is knowledge learned beyond books and lecture notes. It's application of the skills that we have learned in school - resourcefulness, people skills, thinking out-of-the-box, and endless perseverance that counts. Most of the successful and people I know aren't honor graduates but they're the happiest people I have ever seen with their hearts burning with passion whatever they may be.

It's also true that when people say that "When God closes a door, he opens a window." For example, you didn't get in UP College of Medicine, it's not the end of the world. If you found yourself not being able to go on to med school for whatever reason be it financial, logistics, health, or what-not, it's okay. You are not the worst person in mankind. Maybe you're meant for something else that's better for you. Everything has a purpose and all will happen in due time. Ask help from Higher Power if you must. When I discovered that I didn't want to go to med school, it was a very, very rough road. Not only did I not know what I wanted to do, I didn't know how to get there. I don't credit all happy stories I have solely to my own skills. Remember when I said how my art loves me back and how the forces of the earth somehow throw me some luck when I'm slacking off? There's a Big Guy up there who loves me and constantly fuels my passion and brings it back. He probably gave me a very rough road to take for me to love this life I have.

I went back to UP to give young biologists inspiration. I unexpectedly left UP Manila being inspired myself. I appreciated what I have more. As of this moment, I'm chatting with one of our former lab attendants, and he told me, "Lahat ng desisyon mo wag mo pagsisihan, may nakalaan sayo na mas magandang opportunities."

I am Bambi - biologist, makeup artist, pole dancer, artist, pianist, blogger, and life learner. I do many things and I love each and every thing that I do and I do my best to rock at it. I am a success story.

(photos taken from my own camera. photos from the event taken by Julius Pronto)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Forever 21 SM Makati Sale!

I love Forever 21! I could spend an hour just wandering through the clothes racks just leafing through pretty clothes and I won't get bored. I love it too that the clothes are super affordable and comfy on the skin. With a bit of creativity, and mix-and-matching, I could come up with looks to fit my style and mood for the day. Last week, it was boho, but who knows what look up next.

This weekend, the Makati branch of Forever 21 would be having a 3-day sale. Yiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!! An excuse to wake up early and be there before the store doors open.

By the way, if you're an SM Advantage Card, BDO Credit Card, or F21 Mastercard cardholder, be sure to bring them with you since they've got special treats!

Aug 19 10AM-12nn:
10% off on regular priced items when you use your SM Advantage Card/BDO Rewards/SM Prestige Card
20% off on regular priced items when you use both your F21 Mastercard and SM Advantage Card/BDO Rewards/SM Prestige Card, with min purchase of P5K net of discounts
Aug 19-21: 10% off on regular priced items when you use your F21 Mastercard, with min purchase of P5K net of discounts
Aug 19-21: 5% rebate when you use any BDO credit card, with min purchase of P5K net of discounts
Forever 21 Mastercard holders can get in as early as 8:30am. Just present 1 valid I.D. to enter. One entry per card.

Forever 21 stores are located at the second level of SM Megamall A and the ground floor of SM Makati. To know more, check out Forever 21 on Facebook and Twitter.

Oh Woe!

Rarely do I post entires here in my blog on rants or a bad eperience. I really try to keep a positive aura in my blog site and veer away from things unpretty. After all, this is a blog about beauty, love, and passion so negativity should be kept far away as possible. But from how things have turned out, I have decided (and much encouragement from those who care) to write about it because I felt like I needed to be heard and after my experience, I knew I had to step up.

I’ve been doing makeup for a living since 2007. In my four years as makeup artist, I’ve been through it all – I’ve started out doing pro-bono and x-deal work just to get my portfolio started and practice, later on taking paying gigs, that including work for weddings, print, TV, and theater. I’ve had my fair share of both good and bad experiences but none ever tops this experience I’ll be telling you, which has earned me a valuable lesson in the end.

December of last year, I got a call to do a cover shoot featuring a famous athlete/politician for an up-and-coming magazine to be launched at that month. I got the gig via a model I worked with before and the photographer would be one of my good friends. Of course I said yes because it was a chance of a lifetime (who wouldn’t?). I was told of the talent fee that I’ll be getting for the shoot (Php3,000) but I’ll be getting the payment after the magazine’s launch. Magazines usually have a waiting period before releasing paychecks here in the Philippines, so I thought, okay, normal. Magazines usually pay late here in Manila, and I already told myself to be super patient when billing comes. But at least they gave time frames.

Anyway, the shoot did commence and so did the event yet I wasn’t called to get my payment. Magazines are usually like this, delaying payments, so I just let the whole thing pass knowing that hopefully these aren’t like the horror stories I hear and maybe, just maybe they will call me and say “Hey, your check’s ready.” And usually things like these take 3 months to be released (quite true, horrific, but true).

Anyway, a month after, I did a shoot for a designer’s lookbook, which is supposed to be done under the editor-in-chief of the magazine’s rebranding and catalogue business. My contact for this again was my friend and I was assured I’ll be paid after. Fee for the shoot was Php 3,000 per day. We did that shoot for a total of 3 days, so all in all, that’s Php 9,000 for that project. By this point, the magazine owes me now Php 12,000 including the cover photoshoot. After this, getting the payment became a pain. We were given a specific time when the payment’s going to be released only to be delayed with another excuse, either “next Friday, next week, two weeks,”. At one instance, I was told to go to the magazine’s office at 11 am the following day. I did get there by 11 am only to find out no one was answering the door and I waited 30 minutes at the corridor knocking occasionally and texting the editor-in-chief that I was there already. I was told that no one’s at the office and the editor-in-chief is at lunch. She told me to come back at 3 pm (here we go again!). By this time, I was getting impatient, but I still had high hopes of being paid. I went to lunch and met my photographer friend (the same one I worked with with the cover shoot) and we both went back to the office since she was going to collect her payment too, We waited until 3 and even 4 pm. The editor-in-chief didn’t show up and our payments weren’t endorsed to anyone in the office. It clearly was a disappointing day and so were the following days, since it was a vicious cycle of following up and then another delay or alibi. The one last moment was when editor-in-chief met us, and apologized for the delay, sweet-talked us and all, saying they’ve tried all that they can (waiting for sponsors to pay, etc) and gave me and the photographer Php 1,000 each, as partial payment and at least cover the gas/transportation expenses we had for the shoots.

I was mad already this time but I didn’t lose my temper. I tried to lay low for a bit, and I took on new projects and just let the good vibe come in. I didn’t get to hear from the magazine and just gave them the benefit of the doubt that probably they’re having problems and they would’ve needed the money more than I did. A few weeks after that, I got a Facebook message from one of the makeup artists who contributed to that magazine asking if I (along with other contributors that we both know) if we’ve all been paid yet. Well guess what? None of us have been paid yet. I also got in touch with other contributors and they shared me their own woes of not being able to get their payment. Editor-in-chief does the same old drill… gives a day, when that day comes, she apologizes for yet another delay with an alibi, and charms you with promises and stories and all.

I also got an SMS message from the designer (the one we did a lookbook on). Turns out that she has already paid editor-in-chief in full for the rebranding service and lookbook she’s supposed to do and Miss Editor-In-Chief has not given her the lookbook she promised. So we have contributors who haven’t been paid and unsatisfied clients demanding a refund. A contributor has already given a demand letter from her lawyer yet this in fact didn’t seem to work. My photographer friend has followed up recently and didn’t have any luck.

Two weeks ago, I told her that I still have not forgotten about the payments due to me and I think seven months (from January) is more than enough time to gather sufficient funds for the magazine. Her reply was that she’ll be in touch with me in two weeks. I kept the two weeks in mind. After two weeks, I didn’t get any reply from her so I sent another message that two weeks have passed and what are the updates. She told me that she would contact me within the week. That was the last straw. I gave her two weeks, and enough is enough. This issue has long been delayed. I asked her if it could be any sooner. She told me that they don’t have any money right now with them. My reply was this:

“I think we've all given already so much extension and consideration already and our patience is already wearing thin. We've been promised payment by certain time frames (two weeks, one week, Thursday, Friday), only to be disappointed by not getting our payment and another extended time frame. If we don't get our payment in full and in cash sooner, we're all ready to go public to warn future suppliers about situations like this so their time and talents do not go to waste.”

That my friends, is the reason why I’m writing this, composing and recomposing this blog post every night. Not to get back but to warn others, especially new artists about things like these. It wasn’t me who was conned. There were other photographers, makeup artists, stylists, and even their own clients who have been in the business longer than I have. It was sad that our time and efforts have been wasted with the promise to be compensated unfulfilled. I wished to think the magazine had no money, as she told me, yet the magazine still continues putting out issues and moving forward, with status messages in Facebook on how great it is and all. It’s inconsistent. My patience has been worn thin. Enough is enough.

I do have my share of x-deals and pro-bono gigs, which I still do up to now, to beef up my portfolio, but from the start, it was crystal clear that it’s going to be pro bono or a fun shoot. But for Ms. Editor‑in‑Chief, it was from the start a paid gig, and a deal is a deal. As we have rendered our services, it’s all fair that she pay up, on the time she really said that she will. It’s simple really. When you go out and buy a cup of coffee or magazine, you pay right after, not a month after. It’s services rendered after all.

It was indeed a painful experience for me. I do know that there are better gigs out there, with better clients, and I have experienced better client pool after that. I’m still going to try to get my payment after this, since that’s still hard-earned money, although we all know what to expect/

In the future, I’d like to warn fellow artists and contributors on shady characters like this. Have a written contract ready, or a written agreement (like a reservation form or client profile) at least. If it’s a big project, ask for a nonrefundable downpayment. Keep all documents – bank statements, ATM receipts, bank deposit slips, photocopy checks, and all. Be clear in terms of when to get the payment, how much, and the deal.

Also, it pays to do a bit of background research on the client or whoever you’re dealing with. Ask people who know them, but do so objectively. Companies do research on applicants beyond their resumes so why not we do the same thing as well.

With that, I hope that this can serve as a lesson to all of us so as not to avoid disheartening situations like these.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Kriselle was referred to me by my college friend Joanne, who got married two years ago. Kriselle texted me past midnight. She expected me to reply the following morning but super funny I was still awake at that time as I was reading Harry Potter. So the two of us were exchanging SMS messages, wide awake while the rest of our side of the world sleeps.

The shoot day was quite rainy and it was done on two parts. One would be done in Fort, and in the afternoon up to sunset, the team would be moving to Tagaytay. Kriselle had her trial makeup done at my house and I stayed on up until the Fort shoot.

Ian, the photographer was really game with the rainy day and worked with the weather. I guess this is what they mean when they say don't rain on my parade.

This picture was taken with rain drizzling on them. Panic mode for no makeup meltdown for me, but hey, with waterproof airbrush makeup, they stayed put!

My favorite shot of the two had to be this. Kriselle looks like a local celebrity here (guess who!!!!). Pinkish tones suited her minty dress. Her smile's amazing too. It was Kriselle's first time to wear falsies too so I chose natural human hair ones so they're super comfy (Mang Ed, your lashes are brilliant!).

Still rainy outside!

By the time they had to head out for Tagaytay, the rain stopped and the sun started to come up. Yay! So outdoor shoots were now breezy and no need to fear for rain-drenched camera gear. The sudden sunniness reflected in the couple's cheery smiles, yes?

I'll see Kriselle on her wedding day, but I'll be doing makeup for the entourage along with my friend Diana. But thanks Kriselle and Rich, for trusting me to do makeup for your prenup pictures!

Couple: Rich and Kriselle
Photographer: Ian Santillan
Makeup and Hair: Bambi de la Cruz Makeup Artistry using airbrush makeup

Friday, August 12, 2011

Long Gown Competition, Boho Edition

Megamall for me has the widest selection of Forever 21 merchandise. I somehow landed in Megamall yesterday since I had lunch with my star sign twin and her mini-me. After stuffing myself to the brim with prawn pasta (yummm!!!!) and detoxing with rose leaf tea, I stopped by Forever 21 to take a look at the new goodies. I put 4 items in my cart at first and went to the fitting room, among them, this billowy and flowy skirt won the deal. I like long skirts and dresses and they make me look taller. I wore it a while ago, in a mall day. It's so pretty and comfy.

I'm size S but it's really long. For busy prints like that, I thought a plain tank would do the trick, and yellow is my color choice so I could show the tan I had from my swim session.

  • top: bazaar-bought, those generic tank tops in all colors
  • skirt: Forever21
  • shoes: The Ramp
(cat not included)

I thought of letting my hair down and loose in a rumble-tumble of thick and messy waves, very little makeup and just relax and enjoy a day where it's all for me.

Okay, not entirely for me, the cat needs feeding. The skirt's so flowy I could capture the cat in it. Heeheehee!!!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Casual Oversize

I want to be pretty but still be comfy, like wear flowy airy fabrics, easy-fit leggings I could jump into, and flats that enable me to walk for long distances and still not have my feet complain and kill me. Oh, and Zara was on sale so I saw an oversized tank top. Normally, it's a little too big but I always wear it over my sports bra and tadaaaaahhhh! Instant I'm-on-my-way-to-dance-class glam!

I think when I bought that top in Zara last Monday, I was the last customer in Zara. I saw that the sale sign was still up, so I'm bound to find something. Of course, all the small sizes were first to go, but I'm glad that there's medium and while working around something, it could work with me. The top's now Php395 from Php995 and I'm glad Zara allows us to pay in debit card because I didn't have enough cash with me and I don't want to use my card.

Top: Zara
Sports bra: PRP
Leggings: tiangge-bought (as all my leggings are)
Flats: Rainskimmers
Bag: Also tiangge-bought, but it's very sturdy I love it!

I passed by Serendra to buy Cupcakes by Sonja on the way home. I love their cupcakes and since I did a great job at class for two days, I think I deserve a treat as I have their cupcakes only occasionally (the frosting's too sweet for me to have sugar rush, one that I love and they're quite expensive).

Oh yes, and I wore makeup too! And effort with smoky eyes and winged eyeliner. Why makeup when I'm going to dance class? Well, why not? I'm getting better at getting the wings even at a quicker time, yay! It took me quite a while to remove the eye makeup though (MAC eye kohl+ fluidline = pain to remove) but I gotta remove all that gunk off always before I go to bed.